The International Writers Magazine: One of the Worst Films
of all Time?
Turkish Wizard of Oz
(Aysecik ve sihirli cüceler rüyalar
'a very faithful adaptation of I Frank Baum's novel '
SH on IMBD
Yes, it's just what it says it is, a Turkish remake of The Wizard
of Oz. How bad could it be? The Turkish Wizard of Oz answers the
age old question "Whatever happened to all that hash the Turks
took away from Billy Hayes in Midnight Express?" They used
it to make this movie, and you'll need some to watch it. Let's just
say that at some point it's sure to remind you of Apocalypse
Now as you shave your head and fall to the floor going "The
horror. The horror."
You may think you've
seen bad. You may think Plan 9 from Outer Space was as incompetent
as it gets. Your horizons are about to be expanded. Ed Wood Jr. is
Orson Welles next to whoever made this. As with Citizen
Kane, it's impossible to separate The Turkish Wizard of Oz from
the story behind the making of The Turkish Wizard of Oz. Unfortunately,
somewhere along the way they lost the original press kit explaining
the origin of the film, so we'll never know, but I can guess it went
something like this...
A CARE package with a motion picture camera was accidentally dropped
out of a cargo plane somewhere in Turkey. It fell in a town fountain
where it was retrieved by the village idiot who decided to use it to
make a movie. The only movie he had ever seen was The Wizard of Oz ten
years early, so he decided to do a remake despite the fact he barely
remembered it and that the camera didn't come with instructions. He
badly exposed the film while loading the camera, causing a red streak
along the right side of the picture that we're not supposed to notice.
There was no sound equipment, so he just shot anyway, later adding dialogue
and songs from his scratchy record collection of old showtunes and roller
rink organ music, making this the first film badly dubbed from Turkish
INTO Turkish. (There was no synch-sound capacity in Turkey in 1971
There are no subtitles, making this the ideal film to talk through and
make fun of. Since you can't understand what they're saying anyway,
at some point you're sure to discover your fast forward button and,
though you'll inevitably have to stop and rewind to examine something
that just doesn't make any sense no matter what language it's in. If
you watch it with your kids, as I did, you can play a great game of
"What the hell is going on?" while the film speeds ahead.
You'll also get the unique opportunity to hear your kid say "Dad,
if I have to watch this one more minute, I'm going to shoot myself."
It does indeed bare SOME relation to the original film, even though
both Kansas and Oz mysteriously look exactly like Turkey. There's a
little girl from a farm, a Scarecrow, a Tin Woodsman, and a Cowardly
Lion. And other than the fact that it's not yellow, not made out of
brick, or even, strictly speaking, a road, it's EXACTLY like the yellow
brick road, and they dance down it. The Munchkins and the Good Witch
of the West have been mysteriously replaced by seven dwarves/midgets/children
dressed like a marching band from The Music Man. They appear and
disappear at will while laughing hysterically at absolutely nothing.
Remember the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where they
finally see the castle and one of them says "It's only
a model?" They stole it from this, only no one says "It's
only a model" when they finally see Oz. Irony is not a word in
the Turkish dictionary.
Some of it bares no relation to the original film in any way whatsoever.
The scene with the cavemen is clearly there for no other reason than
they had the opportunity to shoot in some cool looking caves, relieving
us from the monotony of the endless scenes of the hapless four dancing
through colorless meadows to bad Turkish music.
In the original, the trees throw apples at the gang. One wonders what
Freud would make of the scene in this one where a tree actually attacks
Dorothy, only to have his limbs chopped off by the Tin Woodsman. And
the lack of subtitles will have you wondering for the rest of your life
exactly what it was that the Scarecrow was saying when Dorothy was sewing
his butt together. My favorite scene? The one where Dorothy throws
water on the witch and she doesn't so much melt as use the water to
wipe off her make-up.
he best thing about The Turkish Wizard of Oz is that it allows you to
play a fun trick on your grandparents. Invite them over for dinner,
spike their drinks with acid, take them to the living room, tell them
you're all going to watch The Wizard of Oz, then put this on and pretend
© Michael Dare December 2004
dare2b at earthlink.net
To be fair to this film - it is better to watch a foreign film with
sub-titles in English or whatever is your language of choice and then
make a judgement. Ed
all rights reserved